Our Water Heaters Might Assist Save the Wilderness

These of us who love spending time within the open air can’t assist however see what the local weather disaster is doing to our wilderness. We see how international heating is wreaking havoc on our forests, melting the glaciers in our mountains and drying up our lakes and rivers. 

But it surely’s more durable to know what to do about it, as people. Given the enormity and urgency of the difficulty, what can we do that can make a distinction? 

Many people reply that query by recycling and attempting to eat much less, however right here’s the dangerous information — these measures should not ample to unravel the local weather disaster. To make a distinction, we should additionally give attention to the most important single contributor to local weather change: burning fossil fuels to create the power we use on daily basis.

This massive drawback wants an enormous resolution — transitioning to wash power and away from coal, oil, pure gasoline and gasoline. The excellent news is that it’s fully attainable and value efficient to do that and all of us have a vital position to play on this important transition.

For something we personal that burns fossil fuels, there’s a zero-emissions, high-performance different. At Electrify Now, an all-volunteer group, we now have helped tons of of individuals remove fossil fuels of their lives. We break it down into three steps:

  1. Clear up your electrical provide with renewable power from the wind and solar.
  2. Electrify your own home with excessive effectivity, excessive efficiency electrical options.
  3. Electrify your trip with electrical automobiles charged with clear power.

By taking these steps, our power {dollars} will create the answer: a brand new clear power system that powers the world with out carbon emissions. The choice? Maintain paying for soiled power that’s the supply of the issue. Beneath, we spell out why these steps are so essential and how one can be part of the clear power motion. 

US sources of greenhouse gasoline emissions from US EPA Greenhouse Gasoline Stock 2019.

The massive image: Most international carbon emissions come from our power system. Over the past 200 years, we now have created a world power system powered by fossil fuels to supply electrical energy, transportation, and warmth on demand. Over 80% of heat-trapping carbon emissions on the earth are produced by burning fossil fuels. Even in growing nations, the vast majority of emissions come from this similar supply. This method contains our personal properties, our vehicles, and something we personal that burns fossil fuels. We are able to’t do with out the advantages of plentiful power — so we should discover a option to meet our power wants with out fossil fuels.

The thrilling information is that renewable power from the wind and solar is now the most affordable option to generate electrical energy — cheaper than burning coal, oil, or gasoline. We are able to use that plentiful, low-cost clear electrical energy to energy all our power wants.

So, the problem of our time, and maybe the most important problem humanity has ever confronted, is how one can transition our power programs from fossil fuels to renewables, and to “electrify all the pieces” as rapidly as attainable.

This transformation to wash electrical energy comes with superb co-benefits: cleaner air, much less air pollution, extra accessible recent water, more healthy individuals, and a stronger economic system the place we spend much less cash on power. As a result of electrical options carry out higher and are cheaper to function, this transition is already starting — however, as Invoice McKibben says, “Local weather change is a timed check. Profitable slowly is similar as dropping” — or, in different phrases, we’ve acquired to maneuver actually quick.

That is the place our properties and our water heaters are available. Most properties within the U.S. produce over 20 tons of carbon emissions yearly from the power we buy — our electrical energy, our pure gasoline, and the gas for our vehicles. By electrifying our lives, we will fully remove these emissions with out compromising our way of life. This dramatically reduces our private carbon emissions and in addition builds our a part of a brand new clear power system to exchange the one which has induced a lot harm. Right here is how one can do it:

The electrical energy to energy a typical house will produce 3–5 tons of carbon emissions, however it’s attainable to get 100% clear renewable electrical energy at this time and lower your expenses on electrical payments.

  1. The best and most essential step: clear up your electrical provide. Most properties produce 3-5 tons of carbon emissions per 12 months simply from the electrical energy we eat. Many states have enacted legal guidelines to wash up the grid, however you don’t have to attend for clear power.

The perfect resolution is to subscribe to a Group Photo voltaic mission if that’s accessible in your state. Whether or not you lease or personal your own home, you’re going to get the good thing about clear photo voltaic power with none upfront prices. In lots of states this really lowers your power payments. If Group Photo voltaic just isn’t accessible to you, join a Inexperienced Energy Plan out of your utility — this can normally price a couple of further {dollars} monthly. Or, if your own home is appropriate for it, set up photo voltaic panels in your roof and dramatically scale back your electrical invoice.

Both of those choices, or a mixture of them, will guarantee that you’ve 100% clear power in order that all the pieces you energy with electrical energy will create zero carbon emissions. Each time you plug one thing into your electrical sockets, think about the photo voltaic panels and wind generators accumulating clear power and powering your life.

  1. Get off “pure” gasoline and electrify your own home. Subsequent, take into consideration all of the gadgets in your house that eat fossil fuels. Furnaces and water heaters are the 2 largest power hogs in most properties. A house heated with pure gasoline produces 5–11 tons of emissions per 12 months.

Pure gasoline is methane — a potent greenhouse gasoline. Burning methane is a number one supply of air air pollution and produces one quarter of the carbon emissions on this nation. The gasoline utilities closely promote so-called “renewable pure gasoline” — however specialists agree this costly know-how can’t meaningfully scale back carbon emissions. The perfect factor we will all do is get off the gasoline fully and as quickly as attainable.

In case your gasoline furnace is greater than 12 years previous, or for those who simply wish to slash your carbon emissions, you’ll be able to substitute it with a high-efficiency electrical warmth pump. Most individuals are unfamiliar with this know-how, however individuals in Asia and Europe have been heating their properties reliably this manner for generations even in chilly climates. A warmth pump will maintain your own home heat, and the identical gadget cools your own home in the summertime — gasoline furnaces can’t do this!

Warmth pumps produce far fewer carbon emissions than gasoline heating in all places within the US. As a result of they’re so environment friendly, transitioning to a warmth pump can scale back utility payments too. Powered with clear electrical energy, you’ll warmth and funky your own home with zero carbon emissions.

Electrical warmth pump water heaters are probably the most power environment friendly, the bottom price to function, and can keep away from 1-3 tons of carbon emissions per 12 months when they’re powered with clear electrical energy. Warmth pumps can even substitute gasoline furnaces to warmth and funky your own home and keep away from an extra 4–8 tons per 12 months.

Water heaters are the second greatest power client in most properties. In case your water heater is greater than 5 years previous, contemplate changing it with a warmth pump water heater. These units use 3–5 occasions much less power than different applied sciences, so they’re cheaper to function. Even tankless water heaters can’t obtain this degree of effectivity. These units look identical to normal water heaters however produce round ¼ of the carbon emissions. With clear electrical energy, your warmth pump water heater will ship all the recent water you want with zero carbon emissions, so your scorching tub will really feel even higher.

Gasoline stoves, gasoline fireplaces, propane barbecues, and our gas-powered garden mowers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws additionally produce carbon emissions and air air pollution. Gasoline stoves produce harmful indoor air pollution which may trigger bronchial asthma — particularly in kids. Electrical induction stoves don’t produce these pollution and are sooner to warmth, provide extra management, and are simpler to maintain clear than gasoline ranges. We are able to substitute all our soiled, gas-burning units with electrical options which produce no air air pollution, require nearly no upkeep or gas refills, are quieter and simpler to make use of and cheaper to function.

An electrical automotive will journey over 4 occasions farther than a similar-sized gasoline-powered automotive for a similar gas price. An EV charged with renewable electrical energy produces zero emissions in comparison with 4–8 tons of carbon emissions per 12 months for a gasoline automotive.

  1. Electrify your trip and cost it with clear power. We depend on our vehicles to get us into the outside. However a typical automotive will produce 4–8 tons of heat-trapping emissions yearly. Electrical automobiles (EVs) produce far fewer whole lifecycle emissions than gasoline vehicles — even when accounting for manufacturing the batteries. The Union of Involved Scientists concludes {that a} gasoline automotive within the US must recover from 88 miles per gallon to supply fewer emissions than an EV. When charged with renewable power, EVs produce zero emissions.

The prices of electrical automobiles are dropping, vary is growing, and charging infrastructure is rising on daily basis. Though sticker costs look excessive, the 5-year whole price of possession of an EV is hundreds of {dollars} decrease than a comparable gasoline automotive, as a result of gas and upkeep prices are dramatically decrease. If you already know anybody who has an EV, ask them how they prefer it — they are going to rave about how enjoyable they’re to drive and the way low cost they’re to run. The following time you go to a busy trailhead or the ski slopes, think about the car parking zone full of electrical vehicles and envision all of the emissions that may be averted that approach.

These options — renewable power, warmth pumps, electrical automobiles, and different electrical options — are able to eliminating the vast majority of international carbon emissions. Every time a furnace or water heater or gas-burning automotive is changed with a clear electrical different, it builds a bit of our new clear power system and helps gradual devastating local weather impacts.

The extra individuals find out about these superb merchandise and the earlier we undertake them in our lives, the extra doubtless we will likely be to guard ourselves and our wild areas from local weather change. That’s the reason we created Electrify Now — to supply data to assist everybody to take these high-impact actions as quickly as attainable. 

All of us who love spending time open air discover it pure to wish to defend our wild locations. It is sensible to us to “depart no hint” so our beloved open air stays pure and unspoiled. Eliminating the devastating impacts of fossil fuels is an important a part of this “depart no hint” ethos. Constructing a greater, clear power system is the good mission of our time to avoid wasting the forests and mountains and guarantee an inhabitable planet for all humanity.

Electrify Now is a volunteer, not for revenue group. Please go to our web site: electrifynow.web for extra data and recommendations on how one can take these actions. Our Take Motion/Low cost web page has useful assets on every motion. Please share this data along with your family and friends.

All photographs are courtesy of Barb Burwell


Respect CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech information protection? Contemplate turning into a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


Do not wish to miss a cleantech story? Join every day information updates from CleanTechnica on e mail. Or comply with us on Google Information!


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, wish to promote, or wish to recommend a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.